SRINAGAR: The picturesque landscape coupled with snow capped slopes, a perfect setting for adventure sports, of Gulmarg is making rapid strides to emerge as the premier venue for winter sports, hosting a maiden International Heli Skiing Competition that started Thursday.
The three day competition is being organised by Kashmir Heliski, and Airbus Helicopters, a division of the Airbus Group, a global pioneer in aerospace and defence related services, sponsoring the event, a statement issued here said.
As many as 200 skiers from various countries- US, Russia, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, India- have arrived in Gulmarg to exhibit their skill levels. Some of the athletes-the statement said, have participated in Olympics.
The first day of the extreme sport event saw 30 skiers making it to the semis that will be held today.
According to the statement, the skiers will be taken across to Apharwat peak (13500 feet above Sea Level) in Airbus’ AS350 B3 helicopters from where they will be dropped to manoeuvre through to reach the bottom of the mountain.
Heli skiing is ranked among extreme sports and physically demanding and the statement government, the statement said, was putting their best forward to market Gulmarg as the venue for such competitions. And, there are efforts to see Gulmarg break into top ten skiing destination of the world.
Airbus Helicopters, that are being used in the challenge, are among the only helicopters capable of cruising and landing on high altitudes amidst other weather conditions and has been playing a crucial role to promote the sport and partner with the organisers to drive more of it in Kashmir, the statement added.
“Airbus Helicopters AS350 B3e helicopter is also extensively used in Heli Ski and snow boarding events in Gulmarg, passenger transport operations in the shrines-Amarnath and Vaishnov Devi,” it said.
Airbus Helicopters India has a one-third share of the Indian helicopter market and is continuously working towards developing new market segments like Emergency Medical Services (HEMS), Power Grid, news gathering, law enforcement, border patrol, search and rescue, heli-tourism, and pilgrimage.